Empty hive

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Borby, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. Borby

    Borby New Member

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    Hello....new to this forum and looking forward to hearing and reading lots of information and ideas.

    Not sure if this is the best way to introduce myself on this opening topic, but here goes.

    I have had a hive for near on three years now and last year I re-Queened my hive, purely by coincidence my hive swarmed about 1 week prior to the new queen arriving. I put the new queen (from a breeder) in its hive. The swarm was collected by a local beekeeper as the remaining bees got acquainted with the new queen.

    From there on in the hive never really bounced back and honey production throughout summer was minimal. I thought maybe the queen was just taking her time. I looked in the hive early in the piece and could see brood (but that may have been left by the old queen).

    I pretty well left them alone to do their bit, occasionally checking on honey production but not taking the honey as there was never enough.

    Then winter set in and I "winterised" the hive and didn't see a massive amount of work going on, putting it down to the cold weather.

    Anyway, long story cut short I have been right through the hive now and there are only a few bees left and honey has gone liquid with a "mead" like smell to it. There is no queen to be seen, no brood, and given time the hive will be empty. There is no wax moth or signs of interference by any unwelcome guests and with spring in action, I am devastated.

    Anyway, I plan to try and catch a swarm and start again.

    My question is, do I need to get rid on my old frames containing the mead/honey or will the new swarm convert/deal with it.

    Many thanks to those that can help.

    Regards

    Borby
     
  2. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Member

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    I would take those frames and put out at the opposite end on the yard and let the wild bees clean them off....and let the new bees start from scratch, just on the outside chance something in the hive was not right, clean up the boxes and try to eliminate anything that may have made them want to leave..I had my hive swarm this past spring, they requeened and the hive is strong again, well it looks strong and im hopping they make this coming winter without any problems....Im a newer bee keeper, just a few years, I started with purchased nucs...
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That mead smell is probably caused by small hive beetle larva having fouled the honey. When a hive swarms and the population is reduced it is important to reduce the number of boxes on the hive, as fewer bees cannot patrol a large hive.

    If too few bees, too much real estate, small hive beetle or wax moth move in, and make a big mess. you can allow wild bees to rob out or clean that up, or just hose the frames down, let dry, and pop in your freezer.

    If you have any BT Azawai, you can mix some up, and after rinsing frames, spray them with it, let dry in a warm airy location, then put in your freezer for the winter. Bacillus Thurigensis Azawai will prevent wax moth larva from destroying the comb next year, saving your new bees time and adding a measure of prevention. Unfortunately it doesn't do anything about small hive beetle but it is safe for bees
     
  4. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    it would also be helpful for us to know at least what hemisphere you are in, so we know if you are going into fall or going into spring Borby. And welcome. I'm in North Texas
     
  5. ccjersey

    ccjersey Member

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    Sounds like he's down as he mentions spring.
    I forget who doesn't have SHB, maybe Australia, but I agree about the smell of SHB..........only he wouldn't have missed the damage done by the maggots!

    I agree, put them out somewhere and let the bees rob them out. Once they are cleaned you will be ready for your new bees.
     
  6. Borby

    Borby New Member

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    Thank you all so much for your replies so far...owning bees is such an interesting learning curve and you make such a good point about decreasing the size of the hive once a swarm has exited. Definitely would have left the remaining bees weak and vulnerable to moth or the like.

    Yes ccjersey, I am in Western Australia and spring has sprung here in a big way.

    I will put the frames out in the full sun and allow for the wild bees to rob what is there...my only concern is that will this put those wild hives at risk if moth has been in there?

    Ultimately it has all come down to bad management on my behalf and not being proactive enough. I was trying the minimal disturbance approach as I genuinely believed the queen was just taking her time to settle in. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and this certainly won't be an approach that I take next time a swarm occurs.

    I even geared myself up for another swarming to occur this season with a spare hive and frames ready to go.

    Would it be safe to reuse these frames and hive for future use?
     
  7. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm sure they will be fine. Wax moth don't cause any harm to future bees except for the holes in the honeycomb. I generally freeze frames for at least 2 days and either seal them up so no moth can do more damage, spray with BT, or just leave in freezer until I am ready to use them